Advice for innovators worldwide.

A few weeks ago I was in Bellevue at the “mall” and just happen to walk by a Microsoft store. At first I loved it, assuming it was a brilliant Marketing joke. Because there’s no way Microsoft would dare to directly rip off Apple, unless of course they were joking which would be funny, but they weren’t. They aren’t. Last week I was at U-Village, another “mall” and gasp! Another Microsoft store set to open this fall.

In business—is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or just a sad attempt to steal market share?

I have a few friends who work at Microsoft so I decided to give them a call and ask: “What do you think about these newish stores—good idea or sad?” Just as I thought, it was a decision unanimously considered ‘sad’. And not just a little sad, more like The Notebook kind of heartbreaking, horrible, hope that never happens to me, kind of sad. So how does this kinda of stuff happen if everyone knows it’s not a great idea?

Being that I live in the 24/7 worldwide web of Marketing, I gotta say, it’s probably Marketing’s fault. Because a store isn’t a bad idea, it’s really just the stealing of a competitor’s experience that’s a bad idea, and Marketing loves to do what obviously works, not what might work. Marketing doesn’t get paid to be truly innovative; they get paid to sell stuff, to push consumerism like the big bad drug it is to the material girls and boys across the globe. It’s kinda sick and amazing at the same time.

I talked about being an Appleista in one of my past blogs, but I just also mentioned here that I live in the world of Marketing, so you know I loves me some Microsoft Office Suite—at the core, there’s no real bias, just a balanced opinion based on a fair assumption about who’s to blame.

And with that said, a few words of advice from a Marketing professional to innovators worldwide:

  • Seek to be truly innovative, always.
  • Never let Marketing define experiences; pay experience designers to do it instead.
  • Own who you are, even if you’re not the coolest kid on the block. And of course, if you’re cool you don’t have to try, use that as a gauge.
  • Don’t imitate your competitors unless you’re 100% sure you can do whatever they are doing better (subjective opinions don’t count here!).
  • Encourage Marketing to sell stuff and build your brand, let designers define and build stuff like products, services, etc.
  • Make it your number one goal in life to cater to your current audience–the one that loves you for you, not the audience you wish you had, and they will be loyal to you forever.

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